Major upgrade for chemicals giant

A large industrial chemicals production complex in the north-west of Portugal is about to get even larger. Thanks to an EU co-funded project centred in Estarreja, CUF-Químicos Industriais, SA will develop significantly as a company and find itself better placed to protect existing jobs and to create new ones at its main site.

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The project’s main goal is to modernise and expand the company’s production capacity in the field of organic and inorganic chemicals. To that end, funds allocated to the project from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) will co-finance the acquisition of new equipment and other key technology.

Increased production

With a history stretching back more than three decades, CUF Químicos Industriais, SA is a member of the Portuguese industrial group CUF Serviços, SA. Today it produces organic and inorganic chemicals within the chemical complex of Estarreja, for use in sectors as varied as chemicals, pharmaceutical, food, textiles, water treatment, and paper. These chemicals are made from raw materials such as benzene, ammonia and sodium chloride.

The chemical process firm has close links to other companies working locally in the same sector. It employs some 260 workers at its main site and in 2005 had an annual turnover of €150 000 000.

Under this project, the main objective is to modernise and expand the production facilities of CUF in Estarreja. New sophisticated factory equipment and other technology solutions and infrastructure (buildings and facilities) will be purchased and installed on site.

Aid to exports and jobs

Thanks to the project, CUF’s production capacity will grow from the current 190 000 tonnes/year to 312 000 tonnes/year. A major part of the company’s production is already exported or included in products meant for exports. After the project is completed, CUF’s exports could represent up to 40% of its annual sales.

The new investment is also expected to create indirectly some 40 jobs, while helping to maintain around 150 direct jobs in the company. According to one cost-benefit analysis, the project will generate an economic net present value of €133 000 000.

There will also be environmental benefits, as the project will allow for a reduction of the company’s pollution emissions. Around 4.5% of the project’s total investment costs will go towards environment-type investments.

Draft date

10/05/2010